Commanders must seize opportunity with perfect Kamren Curl replacement

Kamren Curl
Kamren Curl / Greg Doherty/GettyImages

The Washington Commanders must target this recently released All-Pro safety if Kamren Curl departs during 2024 free agency.

There are growing murmurings that the Washington Commanders and starting safety Kamren Curl could go their separate ways this offseason. The player's cryptic social media post earlier this week lent further weight to these claims. Nothing has been confirmed one way or another, but the former seventh-round pick would be wise not to price himself out of an extended stay considering the options available in free agency.

These increased further thanks to a flurry of safety releases in recent days. One, in particular, should have the Commanders' attention if Curl does end up taking his chances elsewhere.

After deciding to cut ties with Russell Wilson and incur a record-breaking $85 million in dead money, the Denver Broncos had to cut costs. Perhaps the most surprising development came when Justin Simmons was released. The All-Pro has been among the league's best safeties for years. Based on his exceptional production once again in 2023, he's got plenty left in the tank.

Commanders should target Justin Simmons if Kamren Curl leaves

This should make the Commanders and others around the league sit up and take notice. While the safety position is being undervalued this offseason, Simmons' ability in coverage and overall on-field awareness would be an immediate upgrade on Curl despite his scope for additional development.

The Commanders should monitor developments with Justin Simmons.
Justin Simmons / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Simmons hails from Virginia, so playing closer to home at this stage of his career is a tempting proposition. The Commanders are also loaded with $96 million in salary-cap space, so it's a move they could easily afford if an extension cannot be agreed with Curl's representatives.

According to Spotrac, Simmons' projected market value comes in at $11.1 million per season on a two-year, $22.2 million deal. This wouldn't break Washington's bank by any stretch of the imagination in pursuit of solidifying their secondary options under new head coach Dan Quinn.

One potential stumbling block would be other interest from across the NFL. Players with Simmons' credentials are normally highly coveted on the free-agent market. The former third-round pick out of Boston College could decide to seek a team with better chances of contending next season. As things stand right now, the Commanders wouldn't fall into this category.

That said, this is an exciting project to be part of. The Commanders are no longer a toxic destination to avoid. There is new ownership, a new leadership structure, and a legitimate plan to get this storied franchise back to the league's top table after so long in the abyss. That's what general manager Adam Peters will be trying to sell in the coming days.

Nobody would be complaining too much if Curl stuck around long-term. He's done magnificently to emerge from a Day 3 draft afterthought into a valuable defensive starter. Keeping some semblance or continuity has benefits, but the Commanders have a price in mind and are unlikely to go over this number.

If Curl takes this chance to leave, the Commanders should be on the phone with Simmons' agent immediately. They'll have to act fast - released players can begin negotiating and signing elsewhere straight away rather than wait until the legal tampering period begins. The defensive back might not have to wait long before finding his next destination.

It'll be interesting to see how this unfolds. But Simmons is an opportunity the Commanders would be wise not to ignore if Curl gets a better offer.